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Kim Jong-un: North Korean leader rides horse on holy mountain



  This undated image was published October 16, 2019 by the Korean Central News Agency, showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un riding a white horse in the first snow at Mouth Paektu.

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AFP



Kim Jong-un astride a white horse on a snow-covered mountain Paektu

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has climbed the country's highest mountain on horseback, according to state media.

A series of photos published by KCNA show Mr Kim astride a white horse on a snowy mountain Paektu. [1

9659007] This is not the first time he has climbed the 2,750-meter summit, and analysts say that such gestures have been preceded by big announcements.

The mountain has a special place in the identity of the country and is considered the birthplace of Kim Jong-un's father.

"His march on horseback in Mt Paektu is a major event of major importance in the history of the Korean Revolution," said a KCNA report, which was released Wednesday.

"When he sat on horseback on Mount Paektu, [he] he remembered with deep emotion the path of arduous struggle he made for the great cause of building the mightiest land with faith, and becomes as firm as Mt. Paektu. "

In 2017, he visited the mountain a few weeks before his New Year's speech, pointing to diplomatic thawing with South Korea.

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AFP

A piece to attract attention?

Laura Bicker, BBC News, Seoul

Let's talk about these epic photos first.

Nothing conjures up a picture of power like a leader on a white steed taming the first snow of winter as he gallops through one of the holiest places on the Korean Peninsula.

This could be an attempt to project the strength and authority of the "Paektu bloodline" – the lineage of the Kim family. A not too subtle reminder of the power of her leader in North Korea, as well as his skills on horses.

However, in the high-flying state media prose, there are some quotes that should make us think.

] Especially the last line is noticeable. We are told that Mr. Kim's officials were convinced that "there will be a great operation to defeat the world with astonishment."

Kim Jong-un's earlier visits to Mount Paektu had been preceded by important decisions.

It is speculated that this time Kim could reconsider his promise not to test long-range missiles and nuclear weapons. The talks with the US are currently in a stalemate, and Donald Trump is a little distracted from other domestic and foreign relations.

The North Korean leader could use the vivid mountain air to think about ways to attract the attention of the Trump administration.

Pyongyang gave the US time to develop a denuclearization treaty by the end of this year. Kim has repeatedly asked for sanction relief in advance, before taking steps to dismantle his nuclear program, but he has not convinced Washington.

Maybe he feels it's time to increase the pressure with a few more launches?

Or maybe the North Korean leader just wants to enjoy the first snow of winter?

I feel we will find out what it might be in the coming months.

Mr. Kim reportedly climbed Mount Paektu at least three times and paid a visit to the mountain in 2018 with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

KCNA has already published photos of Mr. Kim on the mountain after he apparently climbed in black leather shoes.

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Reuters

Caption

Mr Kim on top of the mountain

Mt. Paektu, an active volcano, is said to be the birthplace of Dangun, the founder of the first Korean kingdom more than 4,000 years ago.

The mountain is located hundreds of kilometers from the capital Pyongyang and is located directly on the sea the border between North Korea and China.

Earlier this month, North Korean officials held talks with US officials in Sweden, the first time since the meeting between US President Donald Trump and Mr. Kim in June in the inter-Korean border zone.

North Korea's top nuclear envoy Kim Myong-gil said the negotiations had "failed to meet our expectations and eventually ended".

The US, however, claimed that "good talks were held".

Before the talks, North Korea fired a new type of ballistic missile, its 11th test of the year.

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